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Review of the Celebrity Infinity
Cruise Date: September 2011
Booking: Internet Agency
Embarkation: Seattle, Washington
Destination: Panama Canal
Cabin number: 6100
Cabin category: Sky Suite
Celebrity Infinity Panama Canal 9/26/11
Are we having fun yet?? You betcha!! On Monday September 26 we boarded Celebrity Infinity for our 17 day Panama Canal sailing from Seattle, Washington to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Our shuttle picked us up at our hotel and we arrived at Pier 66 around noon.
It was a cold and stormy day with rain and wind making folks bundle up and try to dodge the raindrops as the line to drop off the bags moved slowly but steadily. We were prepared with disposable ponchos purchased at the dollar store (a 2 pack for $1.00) we never leave home without ?em!
The line for the security check snaked around like the lines at Disney World! Slow but continuously moving. Security done, we moved on to the check in line. We had been upgraded to a suite so our line was short and fast! It may sound like a hassle, but we were actually on the ship in about 30 minutes because the lines were kept moving. Another perk we enjoyed was the embarkation lounge, for suite guests and VIPs, held in Michael's Club. This is a nice place to relax and have light refreshments until the cabins are ready.
S1 Sky suite #6100 Oh joy! Now we can go to our suite and see what we?ve been missing in all our other non-suite cabins! Nice mid ship location with lots of storage with a walk in closet (closet lights came on when the doors were opened) that also housed a shoe rack and at one end were drawers and a couple of shelves. The safe was on one of the shelves.
Lots more space than a regular balcony cabin with wood paneled walls and one section of floor to ceiling mirrors. The bathroom had a nice deep tub, lots of storage, a telephone and behind the door was a scales!! The funny thing was that those scales registered about 10 pounds light! LOL! I guess Celebrity figures that the weight gain won't seem quite as bad (until you get home and step on YOUR scales!) if you start off low. A nice touch was the little window at the back of the bath tub overlooking the bedroom. It had automated blinds that could be opened or closed.
Our butler, Robert, introduced himself and gave us an invitation to have dinner in the specialty restaurant, SS United States, that first night. We certainly enjoyed that nice amenity for suite guests. The SS United States has a lovely menu and they could cook Bob's selections without salt. He had the filet and I had the rack of lamb, both delicious!
THE JOURNEY Monday 9/26
It was still raining when we left Seattle so we watched sailaway from our balcony. The seas were quite rough, starting around 1:00am Tuesday morning. The captain had warned that we would encounter some weather and to be prepared. What a wild ride! LOL! All over the ship things were falling and rolling around. Our nightstand drawers would open and slam shut?items on the bathroom shelves were falling and the trash bin in the bathroom kept opening and slamming shut! This is when the handy dandy duct tape is put to good use.
Tuesday 9/27, we had 15 foot swells that were making everyone walk like drunken sailors! LOL! At the noon update, the Captain advised that this weather would continue until tomorrow. Tonight was supposed to have been the first formal night with the Captain?s Welcome and a big production show, however, it has been rescheduled for Friday when the seas should be calmer. The show tonight was ventriloquist Don Bryan with the famous Noseworthy. A fun evening for sure! And it was my birthday, so they brought the chocolate cake and the dining room staff serenaded me with the birthday song. Not too bad this time! There were a couple of really nice voices in the group.
The golf putting tournament was a riot with the rocking and rolling, however I managed to win!!! This gets me bragging rights as the first one to qualify and an invitation to play in the championship tournament on the last sea day?. The daily winners will play for the coveted Celebrity gold medal. (at least it isn?t a ship on a stick! LOL)
There are daily presentations from the Naturalist on board. These are part of the ?Beyond the Podium? series. We have lots of activities to choose from?I will outline the onboard activities later.
There are lots of dancing opportunities, more than I have noticed on any other cruise. At the end of this review I will give more detail.
Wednesday/Thursday 9/28 and /29 We are in San Francisco, California ?we will overnight here and leave tomorrow afternoon. Seas did calm down, but the temp is still chilly?only getting up to the high 50?s. We didn?t get off the ship either day, preferring to stay onboard to enjoy the ship. The thalassotherapy pool was nice and warm, though. Oh, it did warm up nicely in the afternoon, but then we went back to the chilly weather when we left San Francisco on Thursday. The entertainment Wednesday was violinist Doug Cameron. We had seen this brilliant and fun performer before and were pleased that his show is still as good as we remembered it. Thursday was singer Lelani Marrell, but we skipped the show tonight. She will be on again and we will catch her act then. Reports are that she is very good.
Friday/Saturday 9/30 and 10/01 are sea days?with Saturday finally warming up to the 70?s. I think we have left the chilly weather behind. Friday night we had the delayed formal night and the first production show which was very good. The audio is still too loud for our old ears, but the quality of the talent is super good.
Sunday 10/02 we are in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico where it?s a hot, hot, hot 97 degrees! Quite a change from the chilly weather that we have had since leaving Seattle 6 days ago. We took the tender in to port and walked around for a little bit, but it was too hot to stay for very long. As I write this it is 3:00PM.. We have been out of satellite range off and on ever since we arrived in Cabo. That means no live TV news or sports programing. The ship has been showing all the major US football games and important soccer matches, much to the delight of the men onboard. They have been showing them in the Cinema along with snacks (and of course, a bartender!)
THE REST OF THE STORY (written 2 weeks later)
Monday 10/03 we arrived in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico about noon and the ship was cleared about half an hour later. Temps here are in the low 90s with scattered thunderstorms forecast?but none appeared on our horizon. We got off the ship and trekked to the local Walmart! LOL! I think half the ship was heading to Walmart to pick up sundry items that the ship didn?t carry. For us, it was to get some meds for Bob. One of his doctors called and wanted him to increase the dosage of one of his meds, thus the Walmart trip to supplement his supply. If you should ever need anything while in Puerto Villarta Walmart is THE place for rock bottom prices and they do take American dollars.. It was a fairly short stop here?we departed for Puntarenas at 7PM. We skipped the show tonight?it was a comedian by the name of Jeff Bradley. He got mixed reviews from folks who had seen him.
Tuesday 10/04 was another sea day (I love sea days!) Trivia is one of the things we do on sea days and we played several different themes today?winning some and coming in 2nd for some others. There is another team that has some brilliant players so we are in a friendly competition with them each time. Some other activities offered today were: Asian cooking demonstration, backstage tour, a number of fitness classes, several ?Beyond the Podium? presentations, various seminars in the spa, and the Putting Tournament where Bob qualified to play in the Celebrity Invitational on the final day. Oh?I almost forgot, today we also did the Navigational Bridge tour.
Wednesday and Thursday 10/05 and /06 were also sea days with lots of activities. Weather was fairly good with some showers along the way. The Officers onboard Infinity are all over the ship in the public areas mingling with the guests. There have also been several competitions between Officers and Guests such as the Basketball Shootout, Hockey Challenge and Dodge Ball with more to come.
Friday 10/07 We arrived in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. We are here for 12 hours. The pier is still as long as I remembered it from 2 years ago! Waaay too long for us to walk, so we took the shuttle tram that runs from the ship to the little shopping area. There isn?t much around the dock area except the kiosks that the locals set up along the water front and some little bars and eating places. To see the real Costa Rica you need to take an excursion. One that we have done in the past is the rain forest and now, for the young and daring, there is the option of doing a zip line through the rain forest!
Saturday 10/08 Yippee! A sea day! Today is the day that they are showing the film, ?A Man A Plan A Canal? in the Celebrity theater on the big screen. It is a marvelous documentary showing the trials and tribulations of building the canal. A ?must see? to understand the sacrifices that were made to cut this waterway across the Isthmus of Panama allowing for passage to/from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Before this was built ships had to sail around South America making the dangerous journey around Cape Horn?.about 8,000 miles more than the ?short cut? through the Panama Canal.
The Rugby World Cup 2011is being shown live in the Cinema. First game at 4:30 between England and France and the second game at 11:45 between South Africa and Australia.
The cooking demo today was Global Flavors with the Executive Chef preparing dishes from several different cultures. Yummy!
Sunday 10/09 Today is the big day for transiting the 48 miles of the Panama Canal! We are due to arrive at Balboa around 5:30am to pick up the pilots. We are scheduled to transit the Miraflores Locks between 7:30am and 8:40am, arriving at the Pedro Miguel Locks at 9:10am and exiting at 10:00am. Then it?s the sail thru the Culebra Cut arriving at the Gatun Locks at 1:30 and finally exiting into the Atlantic Ocean at 3:55pm.
Not only did we have the Naturalist giving us lots of info, but were privileged to have an official from the Panama Canal Commission giving us lots of fascinating behind the scenes info as we sailed along. Folks could be out on their balconies and still hear the narration from the in-room TV.
We could see some of the excavation going on for the new, bigger locks that will accommodate the largest ships that are now afloat. Many of the new ships are too big for the original locks. The new locks are scheduled to open in 2014?100 years from the time the first ships crossed the Panama Canal.
I must say, the weather for this transit was the best we have ever had! It was sunny with no rain?but the best part was that we didn?t have a lot of humidity and the temps stayed in the 80s instead of the 90s! Perfect.
Monday 10/10 We arrive at Cartagena, Colombia about 11:00am. This will be a short stay with the ship leaving at 6:00pm. This port is in a heavy industrial area and unless you had booked a tour, it was advised to stay on the ship. MANY folks stayed onboard this day, including us. Spoke to some folks who had taken excursions and the majority said that next time they will also stay on the ship.
Tonight was the ?Dancing with the Officers? competition. It was held too late for us old fogies to stay up to watch, but from all accounts, it was hilarious!! It was described and the left footed light hearted dance competition.
Tuesday 10/11 and /12 are our last days onboard the Infinity before we reach Ft. Lauderdale. And say goodbye to old and new friends. Sea days, of course!!
There was the Guest vs Officers Volleyball Challenge, lots of trivia with more cheesy prizes to give away because we don?t need 8 purse hangers or 4 sets of round cards or luggage tags or pens or any of the various and sundry items that we won. We did keep the 4 Celebrity visors and the key chain with a bottle opener?both useful items.
The big day came for the Celebrity Invitational Golf Olympix! The course was set up and about 14 of us walked around and figured out how we would play the difficult hole that was set up for us. It was up in the Constellation Club with chairs and tables strategically places for hazards. Dog leg left?hmmmm bank it off the first set of hazards and set up for a direct shot into the hole. Ha! It didn?t work that way for anyone!! I shot a 4 as did most of us (there were a couple of 6?s) But 3 golfers shot a 3 and were in a playoff. Excitement was like electricity in that room as the 3 made their shots! And the winner?BOB! We now have another T-shirt to add to the collection!
This and that There was the Infinity?s Got Talent crew show that was very professional!
Several Beyond the Podium presentations each day with different speakers.
Lots of theme parties both for the adults and for the children onboard.
Many different kinds of fitness classes including water aerobics and morning stretch.
Language learning with Rosetta Stone
Several wine seminars
The eternal Bingo, but it wasn?t pushed very much. It was only mentioned in the daily newsletter and at noon after the Captain?s noon report when the Cruise Director came on to outline the highlights of the day. I appreciate that!
Dancing! Lots of dancing! There was the "Dance Club" with the Activities manager. They met daily for various kinds of dancing and they performed on stage the last day. There were ballroom classes every sea day--ballroom dancing each evening--dancing with the party band, dance parties with all manner of dances--on formal nights there was the Formal Dance Party--there was a "Dance through the Decades" party-- late night there was the DJ. Something every night for everybody.
Disembarkation was a breeze. We were in the cab on the way to the airport in less than 30 minutes from the time our number was called! The end to another great Celebrity cruise.
Next up is Celebrity Equinox 11 night Ultimate Caribbean in March.
Location: Gainesville, FL
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